Magicians: Unveiling the Psychology Behind the Illusion

Contrary to the common association between creativity and psychological traits like psychoses and schizophrenia, a recent study suggests that magicians may possess a distinct psychological profile, setting them apart from other creative thinkers. Led by evolutionary psychologist Gil Greengross from Aberystwyth University, the research challenges the notion that all creative individuals share similar psychological characteristics.

MAGICIANS VS. DIVERGENT THINKERS

In a comprehensive online study, 195 magicians were compared to 233 individuals from the general population and data from other artistic groups. The findings revealed that magicians scored lower on cognitive disorganization and impulsive nonconformity compared to both the general sample and other artistic groups. Unlike musicians, poets, writers, and visual artists, magicians did not display a significant disposition towards psychoses-related traits.

PRECISION, DISCIPLINE, AND CREATIVITY

The study suggests that the nature of magic tricks, requiring precise rehearsals, intense focus, attention to detail, composure, and discipline, may contribute to the divergence in psychological traits between magicians and other creative individuals. The meticulous practice and discipline needed for magic performances may counteract features of psychotic traits, such as social anxiety, poor concentration, or low self-control.

A SURPRISING PARALLEL

In an unexpected comparison, the study proposes that a magician’s psychological profile, termed ‘schizotypy,’ is most akin to that of mathematicians and scientists. This aligns with previous research indicating that biological and physical scientists share similarities with the magicians in scoring lower on ‘unusual experiences’ and cognitive ‘disorganization’ compared to visual artists and musicians.

IMAGINATION, ORDERLINESS, AND PERSISTENCE

The study highlights that both of them rely on creativity and imagination while maintaining orderliness, persistence, and scrupulous practice to achieve accuracy. The parallel suggests that, like scientists, magicians pursue specific goals through a series of small steps, allowing for various creative approaches to reach their objectives.

In essence, the study challenges preconceived notions about the psychological makeup of creative individuals and emphasizes the uniqueness of magicians’ cognitive traits, shedding light on the intricate interplay between creativity, discipline, and performance art.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here